Rally GB optimistic of Wales solution
Rally GB chief executive Andrew Coe remains optimistic that an agreement can be reached with the event's sponsor, the Welsh Assembley Government, in Friday's last-ditch meeting between the two. The WAG is believed to be seeking an early end to its contract with Rally GB, while the event's organizers want to continue in the Welsh capital until the end of 2011.
The meeting is increasingly being seen as a last chance for a settlement before the two head into what could become a lengthy and costly legal battle in court - which could begin in October.
Coe told AUTOSPORT: "We want to negotiate a settlement. We believe we have a very strong case. That's what we've been told by people qualified to make such statements and therefore we're ready for Wales to come back with a position to for Rally GB to stay in Wales. If we can't reach settlement we will be moving elsewhere.
"The legal process started a few weeks ago and, we now have to wait for the court to agree date for the hearing. Obviously this is beyond our control, but we believe that date could be somewhere at the back end of year in a window between October and December."
Following World Rally Championship promoter Simon Long's comments on his preference for a move from Wales to the north of England to AUTOSPORT yesterday, Coe defended the event's position, adding: "That's for Simon [Long] to say.
"I'm not going to comment on what sounds like an unguarded moment [from Long]. At the end of the day, it's for IMS [International Motor Sports] and the MSA [Motor Sports Association], as the ultimate hosts of the event, to decide where the event will be held. Obviously we have commercial arrangements to carry out and we have to find out whether it is possible to do this with Wales."
Asked whether he expected the rally to remain in Wales until 2011, Coe said: "Our advice is that Wales will end up paying damages for their [early] termination of the contract. If they pay the money out then why not reap the benefits of having this world-class event in Wales? That, to me, has been the most sensible option. There are other options for the base of Rally GB, we're getting positive feedback from other places, but ultimately the most sensible solution has to be that we stay in Wales."